Thursday, May 08, 2008

Strangers on a Train, Pt. 2

OK. You've been waiting with bated breath, I'm sure, for more gory details of my trip to Salt Lake. And believe me, I have details--all of which should help to paint the whole picture. The panorama, if you will.

As reported last time, I survived my train ride with the newly-nominated State Representative, Mr. Long-Haired, Tree-Hugging, Pot-Smoker. After watching my friend handle an enjoyable slew of random Law and Motion hearings it was time to head back to the so-called Trax train for a return to my lodging.

Little did I know what was in store.

Obviously, as you wait for the Trax train at the stop, it is fairly easy to see the train as it comes down the street. After all, this thing is large, boxy, and colorful (if white with a red stripe can be considered colorful), moving fairly rapidly down the center of the street.

ASIDE: Of course, apparently all of this does not matter, as people still manage to "not see" the train. A Utah friend sent me this link earlier this week, courtesy of one of the Salt Lake newspapers, the Deseret Morning News: "An ACE hardware truck is wedged against a TRAX train after being struck by the train while making a left turn in Salt Lake City at about 9:45 a.m. Monday. No injuries were reported."


Salt Lake Tribune had the best lines about the story though.... First, from a passenger: "'We knew there was a semi there but we didn't think he was dumb enough to turn.'"

Guess what? He was.

And from the driver himself, "said he knew the train was there but it was sitting still when he decided to make a slow, left turn toward the Ace store on 400 South.... 'It was stopped when I went by [it]....It caught up.'"


Think his CDL will be in jeopardy?


Anyway.... For most people NOT delivering hardward and sprinkler supplies, it is fairly easy to see when the train is coming. However, as I stood there, I watched a man in a leather trenchcoat race the train down the street just to cross right in front of the train at mid-block--which, according to all the signage at the stop, is inappropriate conduct.

According to all common sense, it's just plain stupid.

Kinda like driving your semi into a train. Again, I digress.

Leather coat, flapping in the breeze. What a sight.

But he wasn't alone.

He had a lady friend running right in front of him, both of them carrying backpacks. Mid-50s, probably, the both of them.

They both boarded the back of the train right after I did, and sat just a row away from me. The only way to describe these two is with the phrase: Jack Sprat and his wife. He was slender; she was not. He sat on one row, she sat on another directly behind him. I sat on a seat that faced the middle aisle of the train and they sat on the first two rows facing the rear of the train.

Now, I must preface this next part by telling you this was a full train car. FULL. Packed to the hilt. Close quarters.

Upon sitting down and gasping for air, his first action was to reach inside his coat, pull out a pouch of chewing tobacco, and proceed to pack his cheek about as full of tobacco as the train was with riders. It was truly a vile sight.

In the words of the immortal Ron Popeil: "But wait. That's not all!"

This now-sweaty man (it was a warm day and he had exerted himself for at least a full city block while wearing a heavy leather trenchcoat) then said something to his lady friend, who rummaged around in her bag, then reached over the seat and handed him, to my horror, a roll-on liquid deodorant.

No joke.

I could even tell it was a "strong enough for a man, but made for a woman"-type, based on the garish pastel purple color of the wrapper.

"But wait. There's more."

In full view of everyone on our end of the train, this man proceeds to unbutton his top three buttons and then apply the deodorant -- LIBERALLY -- to each armpit.

Oh, the humanity!

Now don't get me wrong: I have nothing against good hygiene. It's extremely considerate to others to apply such solutions to your body.

It's that, normally, such applications are part of one's private ablutions.

In private.

PRIVATE being the key words here.

From looking around at the other shocked and horrified faces, I was not alone in my perspective.


I think I'll save the rest of the story until later.

You've all suffered enough.

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